Pentagon sounds alarm over $1 trillion cuts
Budget crisis comes as the U.S. draws back from more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel raised concerns on Saturday over budget cuts he said threaten America’s security and global military role, while “gambling” over the risk of an unexpected threat.
The cuts, which amount to nearly $1 trillion for the Department of Defense over a decade, were “too steep, too deep and too abrupt,” Hagel told a defense conference in California, according to Agence France-Presse.
“This is an irresponsible way to govern, and it forces the department into a very bad set of choices.”
Ten percent of the Pentagon budget is set to undergo automatic cuts of $52 billion in the fiscal year of 2014.
The Navy’s global presence is already down 10 percent since sequestration began in March, while the Army has canceled training rotations for 15 percent of its forces and the Air Force 25 percent of its training events.
“The effects will be felt for a long period of time to come. By continuing to cancel training for non-deploying personnel, we will create a backlog of training requirements that could take years to recover from,” Hagel was quoted as saying by AFP.
“These cuts are too steep, too deep, too abrupt.”
The budget crisis comes as the U.S. military is drawing back after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11, 2011 attacks.
But Hagel warned that if a deal is not reached to hold off the cuts, U.S. forces might not be ready if another major conflict erupts unexpectedly.
“If sequester-level cuts persist, we risk fielding a force that is unprepared,” he said, according to AFP.
“In effect, we would be gambling that we will not face a major contingency operation against a capable adversary in the near-term.”
The requisition was planned as an austerity program in 2012, with mandatory cuts spread over ten years aiming to force the battling Republicans and Democrats to compromise on a long-term program to reduce the country’s deficit.
But a deal never came and the White House was forced to cut $85 billion from spending between March and the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, with nearly half of that from defense programs.